Rams hopeful Austin can practice this week


EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said rookie receiver Tavon Austin's ankle injury is severe enough that he wouldn't have been able to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday but he is hopeful Austin can return to practice at some point this week.

"He wouldn't have been able to play yesterday and he'll be day to day this week," Fisher said. "We hope to get him on the practice field at some point during the week and see (how he is)."

Austin injured the ankle late in the Rams' loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 8 and did not participate in practice at all last week. He watched Thursday and Friday's workouts with a walking boot on his left foot. Austin was not in the boot during pregame warm-ups before the team's win against the Saints.

Back in the spring after the Rams drafted Austin, he said he had never missed a game during his high school or college careers. Sunday was the first game he's missed in this, his rookie season.

"It's not sitting very well with him right now," Fisher said. "He was a little frustrated but he's not able to play. He'll be day to day this week."

With Austin out, the Rams promoted Justin Veltung from the practice squad to handle punt return duties. He had two opportunities but only returned one for a gain of 7. Isaiah Pead filled in as kick returner and averaged 26.5 yards on two attempts.